Emma is my guest poster for today. Here’s what she has to say about leaving:

As a freshman in high school, I didn’t have a clue who I was. I quickly learned that the girls I befriended in middle school would not be by my side in high school, which left me alone and friendless in a sea of people. My family supported me but I wanted to connect with people my own age again. Instead of forcing my friendship, I immersed myself in books, movies, and music. Before long, I had a new group of friends that I spent the summer with.

Sophomore year was spent with the various problems boys cause. I took on two math classes back to back and strengthened my friendships but still spent a lot of time at home with my family, watching Patriots games and crying when the Pats made it to the Superbowl and Welker neglected to catch Brady’s Hail-Mary pass. I had a sweet sixteen party with my extended family and a few friends and the feeling of love and belonging surrounded me and filled me with warmth well into the summer months.

My first day of school Junior year was greeted with a new group of friends that fit into my old group. Since meeting them, I have never laughed so hard, had so many adventures, or had so many ice cream cones. I was busy with field hockey, tennis, and student council events that my mother patiently drove me too every day. At the end of the Relay For Life event that takes place at the end of every school year, I found myself in my friends car with another friend, looking out over the soccer field as we waited for the sun to rise. Instead, it began to drizzle lazily and as the music played in the background, I found myself in an euphoria of happiness. I couldn’t believe that I only had a year left with my friends.

Senior year was met with disbelief. I couldn’t believe that I had just attended my last high school football game while I attended that high school. I couldn’t believe I was no longer friends with my best friend. I couldn’t believe that I thought I could take on the work load of 3 AP classes and all honors courses. I couldn’t believe that I passed all of my classes with good marks. I couldn’t believe the nights I spent driving around with my friends would one day come to an end. I couldn’t believe that was my last tennis match with the best teammates I could have asked for. I couldn’t believe this would be my last prom as I danced wildly with my friends to the bad pop music. And as I sat in my chair after accepting my diploma at graduation, I couldn’t believe that I would no longer get another year at school with these people. I walked out of the gymnasium numb with this realization that I pushed to the back of my head when my friends hugged me with excitement, all proclaiming that they were so thankful this chapter of their lives was finally over. I thought on my way home, freshman year was figuring out who I was, sophomore year was accepting other people as they were, junior year was letting people in and senior year was letting people go.

I spent those few weeks between graduation and my trip to London with my friends going to graduation parties and having sleep overs. While in London, I didn’t talk to them much at all and spent most of my time with my sisters. We were all forced to sleep in a bedroom together and for five weeks I thanked God that I didn’t have to share a room with anyone when I got back. But then I realized that not only would I be sharing a room in college, I’d be spending it with strangers. I found myself wondering about my classes and teachers when I wouldn’t be returning to my high school. I wondered how my friends were doing as I sat in London cafes and shopped in Soho. On the London Eye I saw how London was surrounded my mountains in the distance and no one could tell because we were all so focused on what was immediately in front of us.

When I came back to the US, I breathed in the air that was no longer filled with smog and smoke. I felt at peace. I saw my grandparents and friends that night and continued to see them up until the week I left. One was going to boot camp, another was going to a nearby college and still others were working and figuring out what they were going to do now that they were no longer children. With everyone leaving, I found myself spending more and more time with my family. I had gotten so close to them in London and closer to my mom still when I came home from school and had an hour between the time I was home and the time my sisters would arrive home. I found out I would be moving into college a week before I thought and was hit with panic. I had to pack up everything I had from the last eighteen years into some boxes, leave my furniture to my sisters, and set off on an adventure that wouldn’t include my family or my friends. 

High school prepared me, minimally, for what I was going to do when I left. I thought on my way home from graduation of how it had influenced me. Freshman year was figuring out who I was, sophomore year was accepting other people as they were, junior year was letting people in, and senior year was letting people go. 

My family was always there for me through all the turmoil high school can cause. I’ll miss the drives to school in the morning with my dad, the drives home from it with my mom. I’ll miss annoying my sisters and having them annoy me. I’ll miss Daisy running around the house at full speed whenever someone walked through the door, even if we had just been gone five minutes. I’ll miss spending my weekends watching football and basketball with them, doing homework at the kitchen table, watching my sisters play and read and watch television. I know that my summers and vacations home from school will be filled with this but it’s one of the things I’ll miss leaving behind.

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